Monday, July 14, 2014

How competitive is the U.S., globally?

The Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014 results are in.  The results are "based on hard data statistics (2/3) and a business executives' opinion survey (1/3)." 

Here's the top 10... What jumps out at you?

10. Norway (population: 5.1 million)  (GDP *: $516 billion)
9.   Denmark (pop.: 5.6 million)  (GDP: $324 billion
8.   United Arab Emirates (5.6 million)  (GDP: $390 billion)
7.   Canada (81 million)  (GDP: $1.8 trillion)
6.   Germany (34.8 million) (GDP: $3.6 trillion)
5.   Sweden (9.7 million)  (GDP: $552 billion)
4.   Hong Kong  (7.1 million)  (GDP: $272 billion)
3.   Singapore (5.6 million)  (GDP: $296 billion)
2.   Switzerland (8 million)  (GDP: $646 billion)
1.   USA (318.9 million)  (GDP: $16.7 trillion)

* All GDP figures are given at official government exchange rates, most from 2013, not GDP based on purchasing power parity, which for all these countries except the United States was much, much lower, sometimes by half. (Source: CIA World Factbook).

The first thing that should jump out from the list is that America's population is almost double the other top 9 combined.  Meanwhile, our GDP is more than double the other top 9 countries' combined. If we would take GDP by purchasing power, ours would probably be triple theirs combined.

I point this out in order to repeat that: 1) the U.S. economy is not "going socialist" -- at least not according to business people -- and 2) everything is relative, so when critics say, "The U.S. is going to hell in a hand basket" economically, the question immediately should be, "Relative to what country?"  (So no, my Tea Partying friends, there's no place on Earth to "go Galt" to, I'm sorry.)

Our quiet neighbor in the frosty North, Canada, is the only country in the top 10 that even comes to close to the U.S. in terms of population size, diversity and GDP.  

(And as I've already posted, the more popular/recognized annual competitiveness rankings for 2013-14 by the World Economic Forum put the U.S. in 5th place behind Switzerland, Singapore, Finland and Germany, respectively.  But these are apples to oranges.)

May 22, 2014 | IMD

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